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To Dan Dudley re: Electoral College

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  • Weber
    Hi Dan and whole family....Here s more than you probably ever wanted to know but just in case you want more...there is a whole site on the electoral college at
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 7, 2000
      Hi Dan and whole family....Here's more than you probably ever wanted to know but just in case you want more...there is a whole site on the electoral college at  http://www.nara.gov/fedreg/elctcoll/faq.html.   Happy election day everyone.  Here in Snelling (300 more or less depending on which end of town you read the population count) they say voter turnout is good.  I'll add that we too have enjoyed the dialogues and don't ever get off the soapbox Rand.
                                Why do we still have the Electoral College?
                                The Electoral College process is part of the original design of the U.S. Constitution.
                                It would be necessary to pass a Constitutional amendment to change this system.
                                Note that the 12th Amendment, the expansion of voting rights, and the use of the
                                popular vote in the States as the vehicle for selecting electors has substantially
                                changed the process.
                                Many different proposals to alter the Presidential election process have been
                                offered over the years, such as direct nation-wide election by the People, but none
                                have been passed by Congress and sent to the States for ratification. Under the
                                most common method for amending the Constitution, an amendment must be
                                proposed by a two-thirds majority in both houses of Congress and ratified by
                                three-fourths of the States. 
                                What proposals have been made to change the Electoral College
                                Reference sources indicate that over the past 200 years, over 700 proposals have
                                been introduced in Congress to reform or eliminate the Electoral College. There
                                have been more proposals for Constitutional amendments on changing the Electoral
                                College than on any other subject. The American Bar Association has criticized the
                                Electoral College as "archaic" and "ambiguous" and its polling showed 69 percent
                                of lawyers favored abolishing it in 1987. But surveys of political scientists have
                                supported continuation of the Electoral College. Public opinion polls have shown
                                Americans favored abolishing it by majorities of 58 percent in 1967; 81 percent in
                                1968; and 75 percent in 1981.
                                Opinions on the viability of the Electoral College system may be affected by
                                attitudes toward third parties. Third parties have not fared well in the Electoral
                                College system. Candidates with regional appeal such as Governor Thurmond in
                                1948 and Governor Wallace in 1968 won blocs of electoral votes in the South,
                                which may have affected the outcome, but did not come close to seriously
                                challenging the major party winner. The last third party or splinter party candidate
                                to make a strong showing was Theodore Roosevelt in 1912 (Progressive, also
                                known as the Bull Moose Party). He finished a distant second in electoral and
                                popular votes (taking 88 of the 266 electoral votes needed to win). Although Ross
                                Perot won 19 percent of the popular vote nationwide in 1992, he did not win any
                                electoral votes since he was not particularly strong in any one or several states. Any
                                candidate who wins a majority or plurality of the popular vote has a good chance
                                of winning in the Electoral College, but there are no guarantees (see the results of
                                1824, 1876 and 1888 elections
                                What is the difference between the winner-takes-all rule and
                                proportional voting, and which States follow which rule?
                                There are 48 States that have a winner-takes-all rule for the Electoral College. In
                                these States, whichever candidate receives a majority of the vote, or a plurality of
                                the popular vote (less than 50 percent but more than any other candidate) takes all
                                of the State's electoral votes.
                                Only two States, Nebraska and Maine, do not follow the winner-takes-all rule. In
                                those States, there could be a split of electoral votes among candidates through the
                                State's system for proportional allocation of votes. For example, Maine has four
                                electoral votes and two Congressional districts. It awards one electoral vote per
                                Congressional district and two by the state-wide, "at-large" vote. It is possible for
                                Candidate A to win the first district and receive one electoral vote, Candidate B to
                                win the second district and receive one electoral vote, and Candidate C, who
                                finished a close second in both the first and second districts, to win the two at-large
                                electoral votes. Although this is a possible scenario, it has not actually occurred in
                                recent elections. 
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